Friday, October 30, 2015

Thursday Trauma: Miz Winifred

Very poisonous
When mysterious plants invaded Miz Winifred’s weed-infested garden, she was overjoyed and relieved. “Finally!  What took you so long?!”  Soon tall stems were loaded with round deep purple berries. Winifred hurried to pick them, a basket over her arm.

As she plucked the berries, the townspeople clustered at her corroded gate, clamped tightly with a rusted lock.

It's not difficult to make freezer jelly from either grapes or grape juice.
Grape jelly, maybe
They were brimming with unease, baffled by the plants with the inviting berries and Old Miz Winifred.  A premonition of graven events coming soon shivered through them, and all scurried to the safety of home and hearth.

On a cast iron oven, a black cauldron bubbled with toxic herbs, spider pieces, rats’ tails, and black wine, to which Miz Winifred added the dark purple belladonna berries.  

Soon the mixture was cooling in the glass jelly jars, tightly sealed.

Splendid!” She cackled, packing jars in her basket and climbed onto her broom, launching off into midnight sky.  Almost missed our Annual Witch and Wizard Meeting! They so love my jelly!

Many thanks to Delores at "Under the Porch Light" for providing two lists of 6 each in Thursday Trauma.  Delores is a delightful blogger who has quite an imagination!  Please pop over to her site, and if you wish, leave your own take in her comment section OR at your own site. 

Enjoy your own "Hallowed Eve"!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wednesday Words: Xander and Termite Tents

This is what I found in my closet. I screamed.
Xander viewed the striped termite tent with pride, acknowledging to his crew that this job was awesome.  Their work and skill more than matched company standards and high expectations.

Before starting the poisonous agent, Xander used a microlight drone over the roof, checking for any possible gaps.  “All clear, guys.  We got ‘er done.” 

Termidor© gas seeped slowly into the empty house.

But the house was not quite empty.  From beneath old wardrobe crept three rats, nasty rats.  They perched on a chair and sniffed the air. “Well, now.  That’s something we don’t smell everyday…

Then silence reined, except for a gaseous hiss.

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  This meme was created by Delores at Under the Porch Light to encourage writers to "break out of a slump" or to experience a different genre.  Bloggers can use these words in poetry, prose, flash fiction, song---whatever suits. Post the words in your blog any day that week or even the next.

When Delores' computer went wacky, Elephant's Child provided bloggers with all sorts of interesting words (that crazy lady).  River,  followed by Jacqueline, Susan, and Margaret Adamson with friend Sue volunteered to provide word lists, photo prompts, or completing a sentence prompt.

If you would like to participate, check Elephant's Child for words.  You may place your creation in the comment section, or if you wish, at your own site (linking it back to E.C).

If you would like to volunteer to supply words, let Elephant's Child know.  


Monday, October 26, 2015

Time to Walk Away

Time comes in all lives when a person says “That’s enough…I’m done…”  Turning off the tractor, closing the grade book, handing over the keys and walking away.

Teacher friends of mine taught for forty years, forty years!  I think of their names and see them in my mind.  Some took that long desired cruise, some moved away from the desert climate, and some, oh those teachers, got sick.

One of my friends retired on a Friday and developed shingles on Monday.  If you do not know what shingles are, look it up.  You have no idea how AWFUL this is.

Another precious friend was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Since her breast cancer was genetic, she had a double mastectomy, chemo, radiation, and then developed uterine cancer.  A wonderful teacher, dear friend, and school board member, she died.

Enough.  There are many stories, good and bad.

Point of this post:
Recognize it is time to stop, to walk away.

You know when it is time, you can feel it.  Do not deny the hip, knee, or shoulder.  Do not ignore pain or sense of exhaustion.

A number of issues forced me to retire, a good ten years early.  And then the same issues that drove me during some mighty fine teaching years had followed me home.  An severe elbow injury and serious migraine inheritance---I try to ignore them when creating a project.

But, paying attention to the signs and pain taught me to stop, leave what I was doing, and walk away.
Time to Let Go?
Let go
How about you?     

Friday, October 23, 2015

Termites and Tents

By the time this is posted, we will be out of our house.  No, we paid our mortgages and all our bills.

Termites were discovered and the best/only solution was to tent the house, stay somewhere for three nights and four days.  In the days before that, we had to pack, double wrap, box and store all the perishables, medicines, lotions, and anything else that we recognized as a “must move”.

This was a real Magnus Opus; it forced us to move to the next level in the house purge.

See you on Tuesday, maybe Wednesday next week.

Post Script:

Pure Vanilla Extract

Okay, I am cleaning out the shelves in preparation for the termite tenting. 

The spice shelf is filled with surprises, as most of the spices’ expiration dates are June 2007 or 20010.  It reveals that I don’t cook much at all anymore, since our house is filled with just us two semi-old people.

But before I started the big clean-out, two bottles of extracts spilled and broke.  The extracts spilled out onto that shelf and then onto the shelf below.  A river of extracts dripped out from the shelves and onto the counter.

Every box of corn starch, baking soda, powdered sugar, and paper bags of stuff were soaked in extract (these were big glass bottles.)

When the tenting is all said and done, our house will still retain the scent of extract, since the current product in killing every insect or pest in the house in odorless. 

Next bottle of extracts I buy, I will throw at the wall and enjoy its scent.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Wednesday Photo Prompt: Suzanne

from Elephant's Child
Suzanne straightened the review mirror, catching a look at her watery eyes.  This is it. Words filled her mind, as she turned the key and left the driveway.  What will happen? What if…

The country road was one lane, one long empty lane.  Suzanne had passed years on this road, knowing every bump and every curve. A lump filled her throat and tears slowly rolled down her cheeks…  She had never driven so far with such thoughts.

The side view mirror reflected her face and the road behind.  Never noticed those trees before…lush…green…

Suitcases in the back seat shifted and fell. Suzanne pulled over just as she approached the yellow Yield sign.  She turned the car off, shifted gear into neutral. The country road stopped at this main two-lane road. Yield?  Which direction?

Her reflections from rear view and side view mirrors questioned her.  She turned the key, put the car into gear, and stepped on the gas pedal.

Some very talented writers have given time and talent to challenge writers to take a leap away from other projects--be challenged by the prompts they create.  This week's photo prompts are from Susan at Of Every  Two very different photos are posted at Elephant's Child.  Please pop over and write something.  You may post it in her comment section or at your own site, linking it back to her.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Village Idiot: Monty Python Explains All

blue Monty Python wallpaper background
Silly Walks

Starting life on a farm, I enjoyed the years of living just outside my hometown of 427 people.  Most of the residents, their ancestors, and their descendants had lived in this area since 1820s. 

When my own small family moved to Ireland in 1985, our adventures took us through small villages with their own populations, much like ours, only theirs dated back to the 1700s, if not earlier.

These villages and my own hometown had many similarities.  Those are obvious, so they do not need to be listed.

However, one striking similarity was the presence of locals who were referred to as the “village idiots”.  My parents explained this was not an insult, but was the only way to describe this part of the populations.

But, after watching this episode of “Monty Python”, I learned how this came to be.

This relieves my mind, as I couldn't force myself to see people that way.  My parents probably were not aware of this hidden training program.

P. S.  I love Monty Python episodes, their unique sense of humor, and satire on the English society.  I found this video, and decided to write around it.  Hope no one is offended--that is certainly not my desire or intention.

Monday, October 19, 2015

What to do?

File:Old book - Basking Ridge Historical Society (1).jpg
In a library somewhere
The garage is half done in the purging.  The sewing room is surprisingly neat and ready to be used. 

Bit by bit, we discover treasures from decades in the past.   My husband found his lost collection comic books—not in mint condition.  My box of teaching instructions and directions from 1970s were there, written on a typewriter and then copied on a Xerox.  We found boxes and boxes of books.

Some were published in the Twentieth Century and many in the Ninetieth Nineteenth Century, books own by my Grandmother Peck.  She was a highly educated woman and her books reflected that.

The oldest book was published in 1862, first edition.  Very worn.

But that fact raises a big question:  What do I do with them?  I have kept them for over forty years, since her death.  The books are in fragile condition, the covers degrading and pulling away. All are well-used, with that musty smell old books have.

What do I do with this inheritance? 

Part of Grandma's gifts to me

Any suggestions?

Friday, October 16, 2015

Wednesday Prompts: Old Adages
A little of what you fancy does you good….

Naked Chocolate Bonbons
But a whole lot of what you fancy does you better…

Lots of Chocolate Truffles
Go ahead...have  

And a huge amount of what you fancy

May lead to vomiting and diarrhea.

Image result for absence quotes
Absence makes the heart grow fonder…

But an extended absence (on a motorcycle across

Country by choice) makes it possible to pawn off his stuff,

And rent out his apartment.

Gotta love these old adages.

Many thanks go to Elephant's Child for providing this week's prompts!  She chose two familiar adages and invited writers to create...anything in the writing world.  Take a stop at her page, check out the comments.  Leave your creation there, OR write something at your site, linking back to the address shown above.  

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Afternoon on a Hill

Paintbrush Flowers and Red Barn in Field, Texas Hill Country, Texas, USA Photographic Print

I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds
With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind blow down the grass,
And the grass rise.

And when lights begin to show
Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
And then start down.

By Edna St. Vincent Millay

Windham High School
Windham, Maine
Eric William Barnum, composer
Afternoon on a Hill 

Monday, October 12, 2015

What Is Man?

Source: David Flowers
When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers,

The moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained,

What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?

And the Son of Man, that Thou visitest him?

For Thou has made him a little lower than the angels,

And hast crowned him with glory and honor.

Psalm 8: 3-5

Bible verse - Psalm 8,4 - What is man that you are mindful of him - 2013

Friday, October 9, 2015

WedWords: Marching Home

When Hitler threw open the gate of war, he had no doubt that his enemies would blunder and fumble through years of ineptitude.  A game to him, Hitler watched and waited.

The small village of Cranville-off-Trent lined the streets as their own brave boys set off to war.  Tears, so many tears dropped onto the cobblestone street where their sons had walked.  Come home!  Write!

At the "River and Trout" where publican Jim Garvey served many pints that day, he listened with equanimity and compassion for his patrons. Many pints over days, months, and then years were served, as Jimmy comforted despondent friends, waiting for their boys. 

Slowly, brave boys returned home, one by one.  Grieving parents, whose sons lay in graves somewhere, cheered for each young man.

A pint of beer outside a pub

Jim served many pints each time.  And he always poured a pint in memory of those who did not march home. Here’s to ye, brave lads.  God love ye and keep ye.

Two words sent me down this road:  publican and despondent.  We knew many publicans (pub owners) in Ireland, all good kind souls.  Most of them did not drink.

These bold underlined words are compliments of Elephant's Child for Wednesday Words.  Please click on her site, sit back and enjoy.  E.C.'s blogs always provide beauty and interest.

And....please look at the random words and take some time to write anything that inspires you!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Lunch at Rita's

Best ever!

New Orleans in August is a muggy and slow month.  Walking down the French Quarter at noon left us queasy, all 6 of us.  Well, make it 6 ½ if one counts an 8 month little girl named Lily.

The heat was too much for us, so we ducked into a old, beaten-up restaurant called “Rita’s”.  It boasted air conditioning, and we didn’t even look at the menu posted in the window. 

As we walked into the boisterous dining room, full of laughter and bad jokes, the atmosphere changed, abruptly; everything went silent.  We were the only white folk in an all- black eating establishment.  The menus were slapped on the table and chipped glasses with tepid water were slid across the table.

What should we do?  What will we do?  What… were the words in our combined minds. But one thing, one event only, broke the thick air in a hostile room.

Daddy and Lily, who is about 18 months here

Lily started laughing and waving at the ones whose eyes looked at her.  “’lo..hello..” she cast around the restaurant like fairy dust.

Smiles, and “How old is she…what’s her name…?”  Conversation opened up as if we were old friends, laughter and stories.

Man, that food was unbelievable, pure New Orleans.  Forget about the famed chefs who had their own cookbooks.  This was good food.

We paid and left, saying good-bye, and Lily waving at all, “g’bye!”

Someday, if and when we return to New Orleans, we will stop at Rita’s.  Good food, good people.
A composite photo, a year after Rita's

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Man who Killed Liberty Valance...

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) No, sir. This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.
Certainly this week has again brought home how quickly violence, related mental illness, and carnage collide.  In Oregon, a young man loaded up with guns and bullets, brought horror and death to a small college community.

Not much else needs to be said about this horror, since the media are sucking this massacre to the bone.

This sentence will surely seem unrelated, but has anyone seen “The Man who Shot Liberty Valance”?
Do you remember John Wayne in the role of Tom Doniphon and Jimmy Stewart in the role of Ransom Stoddard?  Lee Marvin as Liberty Valance?

Do you recall the conflict of justice through the law and justice through immediate confrontation of evil and good?

This is an excellent movie, filmed in 1962, directed by John Ford.

In an article by Michael Shermer quoting Steven Pinker cites this as: 

“…the (fictional town of) Shinbone embodies any small community in transition from an informal (law code/cowboy code) to a formal moral code and system of justice.  When everyone takes the law into their own hands there is no law…”

Basically, what I want to say is that this tragedy in Oregon (Sandy Hood, Columbine…) is not a gun issueIt is a moral issue. The idea of more gun control laws, and more and more will not be the solution.

The solution is in the enforcement of moral right vs. wrong in the home by the parent(s), and then reinforced in churches and schools. Only then will mental illness, sociopathic behavior, and obsessive devotion to broken ideology  be recognized early and intervention taken. 

If that doesn’t happen, guns can be sucked up by a big vacuum and yet nothing will change. 

Absolutely nothing.

Question:  If I were trained is in firearms, had a gun, and was confronted by such a person, would I shoot to kill.  Yes. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

WedWords: Ultimately

Big Fish
Add caption
Don had always been a big fish in a small pond.  As a respected and experienced builder, Don employed most of the men in the community, holding many contracts for town, school, and church boards. 

His now-grown children had attended school in the town. Don and Lena went to the local Methodist church, and Don was active city council meetings.  Life was good.

His wife Lena experienced an inexplicable fall during the church bazaar, dropping a plate full of cupcakes.  The local GP, Dr. Bill Nelson, referred her to the University Hospital, where Lena and Don learned she had Stage 4 brain cancer.

Ultimately, Don and Lena moved to be close to the Cancer Treatment Center in Arizona.

From the back yard of their new home, Don stared across the desert at the glorious sunset.  The land line connecting him to his life now lay in a hospital bed, hooked up to monitors. Oh, Lena…. He sighed and returned to his empty house.

My brother Robert lived in our small town and life changed for all when he was diagnosed with brain cancer.  That feeling of emptiness comes through in this short story.

I really don't know who supplied this week's words and they are excellent!  Starting this month, Elephant's Child will providing words until the beginning of November when Delores at Under the Porch Light will take over.  Phew, I hope I have that right!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Thursday Trauma: A Mother's Pride

Soft night
Night sky was just moments away, as the brilliant reds and purples faded to gentle soft pink.  Dusk to Night was a magical moment.

Mama waited, watching for beginning of black night.  Almost…almost…she thought, impatient for the magic to begin.

It happened.  She turned to her brood and announced, “Well, now, off you go!!”

Out they flew from the mouth of the cave: her cloud**of young bats, disappearing into the night, searching for night time bugs.   “Watch out for owls!  And, Bubba, don’t overeat!”

Another successful launch. Papa will be so proud.

Thanks for this new Thursday Trauma challenge go to Delores at Under the Porch Light .  Please check her site for some interesting and delightful prompts.

**This is the title for groups of bats.  Interesting.